N.35 Auger discovery

Meitner submitted the discovery of the Auger process to the Zeitschrift für Physik, a major journal, on Jan 8 1922 and it appeared in the Nov 1/Dec issue that year. The process is clearly described. Auger’s first description appeared in the July 16 1923 Séance of the Comptes Rendus of the Academy of Sciences in France (in French). There is no record of Meitner having apologized to Auger for not having waited with publication even though a male physicist was clearly likely to figure it out sooner or later.

It is generally claimed that Meitner should have shared the Nobel prize with Hahn for the discovery of nuclear fission. One reason given is that it was Meitner who found the explanation of what was going on and coined the phrase fission. Meitner also did much of the initial experimental work with Hahn that led to the discovery. Fortunately, Meitner was Jewish and had to flee Hitler’s Germany in 1938. That made it much easier for Hahn to shove her out of the way and receive all the credit, rather than having to share it with some woman.